In most circumstances, a lawsuit is between a plaintiff and a defendant and the lines are clear. The plaintiff alleges that the defendant behaved in a wrongful way and caused harm that requires compensation. The plaintiff is usually an individual or a single organization.
Sometimes however, the harm is spread over a large number of people and many victims are entitled to pursue justice and compensation. On these occasions, the victims will often file a class action suit against the defendant. In these claims, the arguments of all potential plaintiffs are bundled together and considered at once.
At Markoff Leinberger, our Chicago class action lawyers have experience in crafting these difficult and complicated cases. If you believe you have a place in one of the class action lawsuits our lawyers are pursuing, please contact Markoff Leinberger online or by calling our Chicago office at 888-517-9115 for a free consultation.
- Details of Class Action Litigation
- Examples of Class Action Cases
- Do You Have a Class Action Case?
- What to Look for in a Class Action Lawyer
Details of Class Action Litigation
For a class action suit to proceed, it needs at least the following elements:
- Numerosity: Class action litigation is predicated on the idea that there are such a large number of potential plaintiffs that it would be impractical and inefficient for all of them to pursue cases individually. There is no set number of victims, but usually at least 40 are needed to certify a class, though just one or two people can represent the whole class.
- Commonality: The plaintiffs all must have broadly similar legal claims against the defendants.
- Typicality: The representative plaintiff's claims must be typical of the class members' claims.
- Representativeness: Most class action suits have a lead plaintiff and attorney. The plaintiff’s case must be representative of the claims contained within the class action suit, and the Chicago class action lawyer must be able to effectively and fairly represent the entire group.
Once a class action suit is filed, the court must “certify” it, which means reviewing it for the elements listed above. Certification claims are often fiercely contested by defendants, and it’s important to understand that certification is not a ruling on the merits of the case.
Examples of Class Action Cases
As detailed above, class action litigation is helpful when a large number of people have been affected by the defendant’s behavior. As such, these cases are often filed against corporations or organizations.
Thoughout American history, there have been several pivotal and influential class action lawsuits. Some of the common types of class action cases include:
- Unfair business practices
- Unwanted Telemarketing Call or Spam Texts
- Overtime violations
- Employment discrimination
- Food mislabeling
The Chicago class action lawyers at Markoff Leinberger have experience crafting these difficult cases and we can help you if you’ve been victimized. If you need an experienced class action lawyer, please contact our firm by phone at 888-517-9115 for a free consultation.
Do You Have a Class Action Case?
Class action lawsuits use the power of numbers to help the proverbial little guys stand up to big corporate and financial interests. Although you may frequently hear about class action lawsuits, the rules for establishing such cases are complex.
The federal laws that govern class action suits establishes four prerequisites that must be met for litigation to proceed. Civil Procedure 23(a) states that "One or more members of a class may sue or be sued as representative parties on behalf of all members only if certain criteria can be established.” We will evaluate your claim to determine if it qualifies for class action based on:
- Numerosity: Critical mass is the first prerequisite for a class action. It simply means that the number of plaintiffs is so large that it would be impractical for all of their cases to be pursued individually in parallel. The term “so numerous” in the law is ambiguous, which is why having experienced class action lawyers is so critical to proving that a case has critical mass.
- Commonality: The second and third prerequisites establish commonality, which means that all of the plaintiffs in the class action case must be bringing similar claims against the defendants. If you sue a former employer for wage theft, you may join others who are doing the same, but you could not combine your case with other plaintiffs suing the same employer for non-wage issues.
- Representativeness: The fourth prerequisite above establishes representativeness. This means that the lead plaintiff must be bringing charges that are representative of the claims of the class action suit as a whole. It furthermore requires that the plaintiff’s class action attorney be able to fairly represent the entire group.
Class action law is complex and nuanced, which is why finding an experienced and qualified class action lawyer.
What to Look for in a Class Action Lawyer
When considering whether to join a class action suit, it’s important to consider several factors. Some of those are related to the case itself. Others involve close consideration of the firm or attorney bringing the case.
You should consider the firm’s:
- Experience: Like any area of law, finding a lawyer who has experience in the particulars of class action lawsuits is critical. If possible, try to find a class action lawyer who has worked to successfully litigate class action cases that are similar to your own case.
- Subject matter expertise: Aside from the particular issues raised by class action litigation, the specific case types involved require familiarity as well. Make sure the class action lawyers involved have experience with these case types. For example, defective product claims are different than consumer fraud claims.
- Individualized attention: While a class action case might have many plaintiffs, you shouldn’t feel like a number. At Markoff Leinberger, we’re committed to making sure every person we represent is kept up to date on each step of the litigation process.
- Costs: Find out how your lawyer assesses fees and costs up front. You should be able to discuss the financial considerations of your case openly and comfortably. Have a clear understanding of what your financial obligations are, and what the firm is responsible for.
- Location: Class action lawsuits may have plaintiffs from many different areas. Be sure your class action lawyer has the ability to serve your needs wherever you are located. Look for a firm that has experience needed to handle nationwide cases.
If you think you should be included in one of the class action lawsuits our Chicago consumer protection lawyers are currently pursuing or if you believe you have a new claim with class action qualifications, please call our office at 888-517-9115 for a free consultation. While located in Chicago, our lawyers handle cases throughout Illinois and the nation.